Sometimes I find myself glued into social media, following twitter conversations or getting transfixed into my Facebook feed. I bet this happens to you too? I sit online and all of a sudden 2 hours have gone by and all I have done is read Facebook posts. Something about the internet just sucks you right in!
Well yesterday I stumbled upon #AskLaneBryant on Twitter, while updating my profile: Follow me here! It had not yet begun, it was to be a conversation between the public and Lane Bryant’s CMO. But it was evident that the conversation had already turned before it had begun! I understand we all want our voices to be heard, and as someone who works in the industry its always an interesting experience when receiving feedback or criticism. There are always “take aways”, things to learn from and to think about. However it quickly became a bitch fest.
Its always been interesting to me how bold people are when they have a screen to hide behind. Yes I know what your thinking? Aren’t I the same since this is a blog post? Sure you could say that, but I for one voice the same opinions, in person, to “your” face as much as I would write a blog post about my opinion. But your here reading it so I assume you are interested in an educated opinion.
I admit I did read through a lot of the tweets and some had valid points.
From “Ready to Stares” Alysse Dalessandro- who “Broke the Internet” with her recent release of a red dress that was not clinched at the waist line- a public show of rebellion that plus size women can wear what they want, and reminding us that an hour glass is not the only shape out there. Rock on girl!
Alysse called for campaigns with 22+ size models. I am all for this. The issue seems to be complex, as there seems to be a call from the consumer for more diversity in model selection- and some retailers seem to be making an effort. I myself (size 26/28) model the clothing in my shop, because I also feel and want to show multiple representations of what my clothing will look like. I understand that clothing always looks good on size 16, who is 5′ 10″, however I am 5; 5″ and usually a size 26.
Its nice to see what the clothing will actually look like on my body type as well. I think more women will benefit and relate. However, in Alysse’s case, when she herself modeled her red dress, that was not synched at the waist line, the internet exploded. You can’t have it both ways. You either want to see people, models, designers of multiples sizes or you don’t. Its frustrating as a designer and a brand because there is this mixed message of- I want it, but I don’t. Decide People. For me, I am going to keep rocking my size 26 ass on my website (here!) Take it or leave it.
Another interesting point of why LB doesn’t carry sizes above 26 in their stores. I do think that they offer up to size 28 online, and in some stores. What most people don’t realize is not all stores are equal. Stores are “graded” based on traffic, physical size and location. Based on this grade, determines the products they receive or don’t receive, this includes the sizes offered as well. A larger store- like the one in Braintree MA, I consider to be an “A” or “B” store, as it has a very large amount of square footage and seems to carry the most local assortment and variety of sizes. However, if I compare that to the Lane Bryant in Walpole Ma, there is a huge difference. Walpole has maybe 1/3 of the retail space, and much less of an assortment and size range. Don’t get me wrong, they carry all the sizes, but they will distribute the sizes in much smaller quantities, thus making getting a larger size more difficult, because there might only be 1 available in that location.
Now I want you to know that I never have worked for Lane Bryant in any capacity, however I do have a corporate day job at a plus size retailer, and I imagine the basics of retail are the same. So to L J Laubenheimer’s point- there just might not be those sizes, or many of those sizes available in local locations. Could this be fixed? Yes- but from a retail perspective it will depend also on the shopping patterns of that location. If certain sizes aren’t selling- or go on clearance, they most likely will not buy so many in the future. I didn’t say that they should buy this way- but it is business. Personally I had an experience at my day job where a store manager asked a executive at corporate for more product in their location. And what was awesome, was corporate listened, and shipped more product to that location. This gives me hope that things can change, and the retailers are listening.
The wonder Curves and Chaos- who I had the pleasure of meeting in NYC last year- also calls for more diversity. I also think this is a valid point. She points out not just size, but shape and ethnicity. I agree- I think the diversity is better then it has been in the past, but I would love to see models with apple shapes, models who are petite, etc. I personally would love to see a model who Is my size 26 as well. I think its smart because it helps the consumer relate and see what the brands clothing looks like on multiple body shapes. Don’t get me wrong, not everyone can be represented all at the same time from one brand. But that’s the beauty of fashion- its not one brands job to satisfy everyone. If it were, there would only be one brand. The point is to give consumers choices and options.
On a personal note- that’s me- Rose Riot– on twitter asking about smaller brand collaborations. Now don’t get me wrong, I am all for seeing Project Runways Christian Siriano produce a collection for Lane Bryant because he is crazy talented and I fell in love with his designs watching him on TV. However, brands like Lane Bryant have more power then I think they realize. As a start-up/small brand, its very difficult to get In front of consumers and a collaboration with a major game changer like Lane Bryant could be beneficial not only for a smaller brand but for the consumer. I see a lot of women commenting on wanting to see different styles at Lane Bryant. Whether its different fabrics, prints, etc. Style is taste is different for everyone and you can’t expect 1 retailer to please everyone, but a small brand collaboration would be one way to offer more variety and help catapult the next big plus size fashion designer/brand. I wouldn’t mind if Rose Riot was Lane Bryant’s guinea pig.
It was nice to see that Lane Bryant stayed classy in their response. Not for nothing, and I think people forget this while on the internet- there are people behind the screen. You are talking to people- whether is Lane Bryant or whoever, I think it might be nice to be kinder to each-other. Its easy to be an asshole over the internet or spew uninformed and uneducated opinion.. but remember your talking to a human being. Its one thing to voice your opinion but its certainly another to be nasty about it.
Lane Bryant, and all retailers- don’t own you anything. They aim to please and want you to feel valued and loved, as we should be, however they can’t be everything to everyone. If you don’t like it- go somewhere else. That’s the best part of freedom of choice. There are more choices then ever- there is no excuse. Do your homework and support the brands you care about and give you what you need.
Want to know what I am up to? A New Plus Size Jacket Line that will be ethically made in the USA.. Launching Fall 2016! Sign up and stay tuned!
That’s all for now. Stay Classy.
© Copyright Rose Riot™ 2016